Advent 1

Hello Blog Friends!

Happy New Year’s Eve!! Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, the start of the Liturgical year. Every spare moment this week has been spent changing the decorations and cleaning the house so it looks fresh and shiny for the new season.

But mornings, of course, are set aside for CTM work and there has been plenty on that front too. With Carols & Cocoa only 2 weeks away there has been a lot of badgering to do as we gather content from those who have promised to present musical or poetical offerings for the event. Today is the official deadline for people to send their recordings to Jillian who will be formatting them into a file to play on the day. We now have 8 individuals or groups presenting so I do hope that will be enough for an hour-long concert. Jillian will be keeping me updated as she compiles everything so I will know in time to do some extra badgering, should it prove necessary.

Besides all the work around the decorations there has still been raking to do, although I was so happy to finally get the compost spread last Saturday. There is a forecast of snow in the next few days so soon I shall be replacing my rake with a shovel for outdoor activities 🙂

Last week Jillian and her husband Victor chose the fabrics for six masks and since I was seeing her for lunch yesterday I made an effort on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to sew the masks so that she could pick them up on her visit. We had worked out a “trade” as I needed a few items from a hardware store and they needed masks! It worked out well as they are now happy with their new masks and I have a spare set of door keys and a new sponge mop refill 🙂.

We had such a nice visit, I made Okonomiyaki for lunch and we had a good chat about Carols & Cocoa and lots of other things. Jillian had an exhausting week doing many online parent/teacher interviews so it made a happy ending to both our weekday schedules to spend Friday afternoon together. Unfortunately there has been a resurgence of COVID cases at the school where she teaches so we had to be extra careful visiting, as she is waiting the results of her COVID test. Just to be on the safe side, we stayed socially distanced and wore masks while not eating but that did not spoil the opportunity of enjoying an in-person visit 🙂 

This afternoon I have some baking to do, just some GF bread for Sue, some Angel Biscuits and an apple tart for myself and maybe a miche. I am also planning to wrap some of my Christmas gifts; this year I have sewn furoshiki as my gift-wrapping and made some gold metallic, tree-shaped gift tags so am looking forward to seeing how the finished packages will look. Jenna will be stopping by at some point to pick up the drawing she has chosen as a “thank you” gift from me for all the work she put into her role as guest Speaker at our Autumn Day Retreat so I had better type up our recipe and finish this post 🙂.

Last Saturday I made my first batch of Stöllen so I thought it would be  good to share if you would like to make an early start on Christmas goodies!


  • 4 Tbsps. yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup orange juice or elderflower cordial
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • grated rind of 1 grapefruit
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups other dried fruits-cranberries, apricots, cherries, and figs
  • 1½ cups chopped, toasted almonds

Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water. In a large bowl combine the cottage cheese with 2 cups hot water. Add the honey, juice or cordial and the eggs and whisk well together, stir in the yeast.Gradually stir in the flours and salt. Continue adding flour until the dough comes together. Turn onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, adding a little more flour as necessary. Flatten the dough out and dot all over with the softened butter. Gently knead the butter into the dough until it is fully incorporated. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover tightly. Allow to rise for at least 2 hours OR place in the fridge and allow to rise overnight.

 Meanwhile combine the dried fruits, toasted nuts and grated peel in a bowl and set aside. When the dough has risen divide in half or quarters depending on how large you would like your loaves. Taking one piece of dough at a time, flatten it on a lightly floured surface and knead in either half or one quarter of the fruits and nuts. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Pat the piece of fruit-filled dough into an oval and fold almost in half, pressing the top edge down so it will stay closed. Transfer the completed loaves to the baking sheets. If you are making 4 Stöllen you can place 2 on each baking sheet, as long as they are several inches apart. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven. The smaller Stöllen will take about 40 minutes, the large ones about 1 hour. Transfer to racks to cool. To serve, spread the top of a Stöllen with softened butter and dust with icing sugar before slicing. The loaves freeze well. Makes 2 large or 4 medium Stöllen.

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